12. Memorandum From the Secretary of State to the President1

SUBJECT

  • Israel Tenth Anniversary

The Israel Government has asked that you designate a special representative to attend ceremonies to be held in Israel from April 23–26, 1958. This request has been publicized and as a result there is press speculation as to the identity of the person you would appoint in such a capacity. There are even reports that your representative would return from Israel in company with the Israel Prime Minister, who would be coming to the United States on an official visit. Speculation and rumors such as this are harmful to our over-all interests in the Near East.

We have asked a number of other friendly Governments as to their plans. So far, none of these Governments has received an invitation from Israel to send a representative of the Head of State. Neither are these Governments planning to send such a representative.

We feel that we should respond to the Israel request in a manner which, while indicating our desire to take appropriate note of Israel’s tenth anniversary, would minimize the effect on our objectives in the area. We are certain that the sending of a high-level representative from this country to participate in ceremonies in Israel, with all the attendant publicity, would serve to foster antagonism toward us in the Arab world, would be exploited by the Soviet Union, and would be especially harmful to Arab leaders who seek to maintain close relations with the United States. Accordingly, I recommend that the Honorable [Page 30]Edward B. Lawson, American Ambassador at Tel Aviv, be designated as your special representative to attend the Israel tenth anniversary ceremonies.

JFD
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Dulles–Herter Series. No classification marking. According to another copy, this memorandum was drafted by Bergus on March 3. (Department of State, Central Files, 884A.424/3–458) The source text bears the handwritten notation: “OK DE”.